Home > Ask Gary, Jaffarian Toyota, Uncategorized > How can I get my teen driver to understand the importance of safety, like not texting or getting in a car with anyone who text or drinks and drives?

How can I get my teen driver to understand the importance of safety, like not texting or getting in a car with anyone who text or drinks and drives?

Teen Driver Safety posterDuring this week of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Gary Jaffarian shares important information for parents of teenagers.

First, some important and scary facts to know and share with your teenager:
• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15 to 18 years old) in the United States – ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
• There were 1,972 teen drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015; and an estimated 99,000 teen passenger vehicle drivers were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 15-21 and this week provides an opportunity for all of us as parents to talk with their teenagers about the important rules to follow to be safe when behind the wheel of a passenger car, truck, or SUV. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies the 5 greatest dangers for teens as the following: (note there is little to no difference as the dangers for adults so we can all benefit from this week!):
1. alcohol
2. inconsistent use or no use of seat belts
3. distracted driving mostly from cell phone use or driving drowsy
4. speeding
5. number of passengers. The higher the number of passengers in a teen’s vehicle, the higher the number of accidents.

Teens buckle up less frequently than adults do. In 2013, over half of teens (ages 15-19) killed in crashes were NOT wearing a seat belt. It’s also impacting their younger passengers: when teens aren’t wearing their seat belts, 90 percent of their young passengers (ages 13-19) who die in crashes also aren’t restrained. Teens need to know that wearing a seat belt can make the difference between life and death.

For teens, driving means freedom and independence. They feel they’ve grown up. But even the brightest, most conscientious teens find themselves in danger on the road simply because they lack experience behind the wheel.

In Massachusetts and N.H. you can be pulled over for texting and driving and both states do not allow teens to drive with a cell phone in their hands. There is a penalty for first timers.

Not only for the sake of insurance costs, it is important for your teen to have both classroom and on-the-road driving instruction. Even if you think your teens aren’t listening, they usually do. Set the rules before they hit the road and be firm. Consider consequences as a way to reinforce the importance of following the law (seat belts) and making good decisions (e.g., not speeding and not driving impaired).

1. No Drinking and Driving — Talk about the fact that it’s illegal to drink before you’re 21—and that mixing alcohol and driving, or driving under the influence of any drug, is unacceptable at any age. Almost one out of five teen drivers (20%) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

2. Buckle Up — The vehicle should not move until everyone is buckled up—front seat or TeensSeatbeltback, on every trip, every time. In 2015, 58 percent of the 531 passengers who died in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers were not wearing seat belts. When the teen driver was unbuckled, 84 percent of those passengers were also unbuckled.
3. No Distractions – Driving is the first and only task when behind the wheel. That means no phones or texting while driving, and not doing anything else—like eating and drinking or fixing hair and makeup—when you should be 100 percent focused on driving. About 10 percent of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
4. No Speeding — Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens who lack the experience to react to changing circumstances around their cars. More speed means less time to react. About one-third of all fatal teen-driver crashes involved speeding. Make sure that your teen knows that the rule is to obey the posted speed limit at all times.
5. Passengers — Passengers increase a teen’s risk for a fatal crash. That’s because other passengers can distract an inexperienced teen driver. States including Mass. and N.H. have regulations for junior drivers’ passengers as noted below restricting the number of passengers.

Massachusetts Teen Driving Requirements for a Junior Operator License (ages 16 ½-18) help parents insure safe driving:
• Teens must have had a learner’s permit for a minimum of 6 months.
• Teens must pass a behind-the-wheel road test and complete a State of Massachusetts approved driver education program with 12 hours on the road behind the wheel training; 6 hours in the car observing other student drivers; and 2 hours of parent or legal guardian attendance during driver education.
• Complete a minimum of 40 hours supervised on the road driving or 30 hours on the road supervised driving if they have completed a driver skills development program.
• May not drive with passengers under the age of 18 that are not immediate family 4 teensmembers for the first 6 months unless they are accompanied by licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age with a minimum of 1 year of driving experience. The adult license holder must occupy the front passenger seat next to the Junior Operator.
• Teens may not drive between the hours of 12:30 AM to 5:00 AM unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

New Hampshire considers a junior operator until age 18 with the following restrictions and by law cannot operate a vehicle:
1. between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.
2. with more than one passenger less than 25 years of age who is not a member of the driver’s family unless accompanied by a licensed, responsible adult who is at least 25 Prevent-Teen-Car-Crashyears of age during the first six (6) months holding the license.
3. with more passengers than seat belts or safety restraints in the vehicle.

These laws help minimize teen accidents. Toyota has a TeenDrive 365 website for parents where you can pledge to be the kind of driver you want your teens to be. They believe teens follow in their parents’ footsteps…if you talk on the phone while driving, they will want to as well, despite the fact it is legal for adults. AAA also has teen driver safety information on their website.

Some parents try leaving “love notes” in their teens backpack or lunch to remind them to drive carefully or not ride with a teen who may be texting. Nothing may work better than knowing you have motivation to come home safely to your family. Let your young driver know that obeying the rules of the road is a prerequisite for the privilege of driving. This is the one time when you need to be both firm and loving and let your teens know there is no room for a margin of error when it comes to driving. Good luck having that important conversation—and not just this week, but on an ongoing basis.

All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota want your teens to be safe on the road.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

 

 

 

Gary Jaffarian

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